27 July 2013

Weekend Cooking: What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davies

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn DaviesDublin-born Katie Quinn Davies has a background in graphic design and doesn't come from a particularly foodie family. But when an opportunity came for her to change careers, after she moved to her husband's native Australia, she decided her future was in the kitchen. After a series of false starts, she found a way to join two passions by becoming a food photographer and stylist.

At the brink of her new adventure and on the advice of a friend, Katie started a blog, What Katie Ate, both to document her learning process and to serve as a kind of portfolio of her work. Although she posts in bursts with long breaks, her photographs (and recipes) caught the attention of some of the major players in the food and publishing world, and the idea for her cookbook, What Katie Ate, was born.

There is no doubt that Davies is a talented food stylist and photographer. Her book is an absolute joy to look through, with its typewriter font and earthy colors. The stunning photos project a rustic, vintage, casual style and are incredibly inviting.

The recipes range from breakfast through to evening dessert, with a stopover at drinks and appetizers. Davies notes that her style is casual and she loves developing dishes from whatever fresh ingredients are at hand and generally can't resist tweaking the recipes that she gets from family and friends.

copyright Katie Quinn DaviesEven though she was born and raised in Ireland and lives in Sydney, her ingredients are universal. I doubt anyone would have trouble finding the necessary components of any of her dishes. Davies is aware that she has an international audience, so when, for example, a particular type of Pacific fish is called for, she tells us any firm white variety will do.

The directions are straightforward and use basic techniques, making the cookbook accessible to anyone who is at home in the kitchen. On the other hand, I found her idea of everyday casual to be my idea of weekend cooking for friends. Her recipes can be a little fussy--not in terms of difficulty but in the number of steps. In addition, she likes her cheese, eggs, bacon, and other ingredients that I'm happy to eat, but not necessarily every day.

On the other hand, many of her recipes seem perfect for a casual evening with friends or family. I have several flagged for fall entertaining, such as crab cakes with a spicy sauce, roasted chicken with a lemony gravy, red wine pork lasagna, and mushroom-chicken cannelloni. Each would be a welcome excuse for a no-particular-reason get-together.

If you're looking for a cookbook to help you with light entertaining, you won't go wrong with Katie Quinn Davies's What Katie Ate. Don't miss the beautiful photographs and be sure to check out Davies's helpful tips and tricks. This book is a great treat for the eye and stomach.

Here's a easy dish that will make it to one of our deck parties this summer; perhaps this coming week. Manchego is a hard sheep's milk cheese from Spain, which I can get, even in my small town. If you can't, try Asiago or Pecorino Romano.

Copyright KatieQuinn DaviesSlow-Roasted Tomatoes with Manchego

Serves 4
  • 6 large, ripe tomatoes, halved lengthways
  • 4 tablespoon light olive oil
  • Handful of large basil leaves
  • 1 cup shredded manchego, plus extra to serve
  • Toasted bread slices, for serving
Preheat the oven to 275°F.

Divide the tomato halves among four individual heatproof tapas bowls, placing them cut-side up.

Drizzle the olive oil over the tomato halves and season very well with salt and pepper. Arrange the basil leaves around the tomato halves, pushing them into the oil. Transfer to the oven and roast for 1½ hours, or until the tomatoes are soft.

Sprinkle with the shredded manchego, then return to the oven for another 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

Serve piping hot with extra shredded manchego sprinkled on top. Accompany with slices of toasted bread. (Photo credits: the photos are copyright by Katie Quinn Davies and appear in the book.)

Penguin USA / Viking, 2012
ISBN-13: 9780670026180
Rating: B
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Copyright 2013 cbl for www.BethFishReads.com


Tina 7/27/13, 6:33 AM  

The recipes sound good but I would be very interesting in hearing about the cultural changes she experienced as well. Wow - what a move!
You always provide me more reading and cooking materials. Thank you!!

Col (Col Reads) 7/27/13, 6:38 AM  

The tomatoes sound fantastic. And I just happen to have a bushel of them in my kitchen for canning today. I wonder if I could divert a few!

rhapsodyinbooks 7/27/13, 6:47 AM  

Oh, I ***love*** manchego. But I'd hate to ruin it with the cruddy tomatoes usually available to me. Someday when I can grow them myself....

Heather Webb 7/27/13, 8:58 AM  

I agree in the fewer steps for company theory, though I do love to feed them well and perhaps even impress them on occasion. :)

The chicken with lemon gravy sounds like a delicious fall recipe I'd like to try, and manchego with summer tomatoes? Well, I may serve that this week!

bermudaonion 7/27/13, 9:08 AM  

That looks like a beautiful cookbook. That recipe sounds right up my alley.

Heather 7/27/13, 9:43 AM  

the photos sound great but I do wonder about the recipes. I am not a dairy person and many recipes don't work well once you remove the cheese. thanks for sharing. Will look for the authors website site to enjoy some photos.

Beth S. 7/27/13, 9:46 AM  

I am quite intrigued by the premise of this book. I will definitely be checking it out!

(Diane) bookchickdi 7/27/13, 10:05 AM  

Kate's story sounds so interesting, I'm going to look for this one.

Sue Jackson 7/27/13, 10:15 AM  

The photos do look stunning!

I have seen several recipes for slow-roasted tomatoes - I really need to try that.


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Belle Wong 7/27/13, 10:25 AM  

I'll have to see about getting a copy of this one. The recipes you mentioned - the crab cakes and the roast chicken with lemon gravy especially! - sound delicious! Ward tends to like recipes with lots of steps, so this might actually be the perfect book for him.

JoAnn 7/27/13, 10:41 AM  

The photos and recipes are so appealing. I'd like to take a closer look at this cookbook!

caite 7/27/13, 12:25 PM  

that Tomatoes with Manchego sounds delicious...

My post is up, late today. but better late than never!

Stacy at The Novel Life 7/27/13, 2:18 PM  

I wish I enjoyed tomatoes! They look so delicious and juicy (and convenient!) but alas, tomatoes are not for me.

This recipe does sound so easy and one I could probably substitute zucchini or summer squash with. MMMMM! Yummy!

Esme 7/27/13, 3:09 PM  

I have seen the book at Antrhopologie and have been wanting to get my own copy.

Carole 7/27/13, 3:47 PM  

Slow roasted tomatoes - great idea - must really deepen their flavour! Hope you are keeping well

Cecelia 7/27/13, 6:24 PM  

That cookbook looks absolutely mouthwatering. I'm going to go find her blog (and this cookbook!) right now. Thanks for sharing!

Joy 7/27/13, 7:20 PM  

I've got some tomatoes ripening in my garden that would be so good slow-roasted -- thanks!

Joy's Book Blog

Alice 7/27/13, 10:42 PM  

I have some tomatoes but don't have the cheese, even the suggested alternatives. I'm going to try with other cheese varieties and see what happens...

Teddyree 7/28/13, 2:24 AM  

I love food photography but when you mentioned the author moved to Australia that caught my attention. Going to check out her blog and hope to find the book locally!

Laurie C 7/28/13, 8:01 AM  

I just flipped through this book last week at the library! The book is beautiful and very inviting, but the heavily visual style was too busy for me and the recipes seemed like they would require a lot of planning. Not a cookbook I'd be able to just open up and find a recipe using what was in my house already!

Howard Sherman 7/28/13, 12:23 PM  

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes with Manchego sounds deceptively simple and delicious. Sunday is my cooking day for the family and while I was planning on preparing tomatoes provencal (ala Jacques Pepin & Julia Child) I might give this a go instead. Thanks for sharing it!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 7/29/13, 7:04 AM  

There are some cookbooks that are just beautiful to look at, never mind the recipes. This, I think, is a book like that, a book I loved browsing through for its format alone.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 7/29/13, 8:42 AM  

Food photography and styling is something that continually baffles me but goodness does it make all the difference! I've even unsubscribed from food blogs that don't even include pictures. I took a look at her website (I've heard of her somewhere before but haven't followed) and her dishes look delicious.

Gilion at Rose City Reader 7/29/13, 1:00 PM  

Sounds like the kind of food I love. I'll go read the blog and then try to find the book.

Anonymous,  7/30/13, 7:16 AM  

I've always liked your weekend cooking posts though I don't comment on them.

This week, I am participating for the first time as well. I have a linked a post about cooking with my daughter.

Hope you like it :)

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